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Howard Training Center Taking New Direction
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Howard Training Center (HTC) will be charting new courses of training for its 246 clients and 111 staff in Stanislaus County. The non-profit agency with three campuses in the county is responding to the new demands of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act of 2016. Executive Director Carla Strong said “that the traditional sheltered-workshop for training adults with disabilities will go away throughout our industry nationally” and be replaced by innovative programs that aim squarely for “Competitive-integrated-employment” for adults with disabilities.

Howard Training Center has trained adults with disabilities in several phases of vocational and life skills for 65 years. The Center has operated the Caltrans rest stops on Highway 99 in Turlock and Interstate 5 in Westley for 22 years with their clients and job coaches. The 30 training clients who work in the Mary Stuart Rogers Commercial Kitchen on the Stonum Campus have produced the Senior Meals for Stanislaus County for the last 11 years. Crews from HTC’s Landscape Training Corp provide the gardening, trimming, and clean-up for the major thoroughfares of the City of Ceres. The Production Unlimited Campus works on hand work projects for major wineries, the Caltrans Highway division, several major industries in town including the Hope Chests. Behavioral and Adult Service counseling and care are offered both at the Stratos Way Campus and the Stonum Campus for over 100 adults with disabilities.

The focus on Competitive-Integrated-Employment will create major innovations in each of the programs. For example, the Commercial Kitchen will be developed further into a Culinary Academy offering all steps of culinary training from cooking to “front of the house” skills with a complete curriculum. This dramatic change will lead HTC away from its role as a provider for Senior Meals, said Strong. HTC’s leaders are working closely with the Area Agency on Aging in Stanislaus County to provide a smooth transition of services.

“We recognize the importance of the Senior Meals on Wheels program and felt with these new mandates, others were better poised to handle this program; thus allowing HTC to excel at what we do best,” said Strong. “Our community will benefit from these changes.”

For more information, contact the HTC Executive Director, Carla Strong, at (209) 593-5617 or

“The new focus on independent and integrated employment is a big, industry wide challenge,” noted Strong. “We will place HTC at the forefront of providing services for our clients in Stanislaus County.”